Siberian rivers stones’ mystery
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Siberian rivers stones’ mystery

February 03, 2021

In 2017, a rare ammonite was added to the paleontological collection of the Norilsk Museum.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. A fragment of the shell of a giant ammonite that inhabited the territory more than 60 million years ago was found 150 kilometers north-west of Norilsk at the mouth of the Ikon river in September 2015.

The Norilsk Museum began with geological, mineralogical and paleontological collections collected by scientists in Taimyr. Thus, samples of ancient vegetation of the Norilsk region in the fossils were collected, identified and transferred to the museum in the early 1950s by the repressed paleobotanist of the world name Venedikt Hahlov. Those collections have not survived, but later the set of minerals and paleontological materials of the museum was considered the most complete and well studied. Today, the expositions of the museum and exhibition complex in Norilsk, the Talnah branch and fund depositories have 400 storage units of paleontological samples. Among them there are also ammonites from the famous collection of the chief geologist of Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI) Gennady Shneider. But the ammonite, acquired from another very famous geologist Victor Radko, is considered unique.

The Taimyr ammonite shines with almost all colors of the rainbow

According to the expert, the shell fragment, covered with 75 percent of pearl on the front side, is distinguished by an unusually bright play of color, characteristic only of Canadian ammonites. These samples are found in only one deposit in Canada. However, the Norilsk colored ammonite is not a complete analogue of the yellow-green Canadian sample, as it shines with almost all colors of the rainbow.

The expert opinion, signed by Lyudmila Miroshnikova, candidate of geological and mineralogical sciences, states that large ammonite shells in general in the Russian Federation are not uncommon, but they all have white mother-of-pearl, which never exceeds the quality of modern shells.

“Well-known ammonites from the Ulyanovsk, Moscow regions and the Crimea are distinguished by precisely this quality of the mother-of-pearl coating”.

When, at the end of the 18th century, the French zoologist introduced the name ‘ammonite’, only one species was known. In our time, there are already about three thousand species and descriptions of new ones appear.

You can see the rainbow-shining fossil, which was once a cephalopod navigator, in the Talnah branch of the Norilsk Museum.

For other unique items from the local museums, see the Artefacts section.

February 03, 2021

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